February 3, 2022 

Good afternoon,

I hope you’re doing well. Happy Lunar New Year to those who celebrate. During Tuesday’s morning announcements, I wished this over the PA to our students. Immediately after that, as I stood in the hall for passing time, a student approached me and asked why we didn’t recognize Black History Month that morning. The student was right that we hadn’t mentioned it that morning. I thanked her for calling us out and I explained that we wanted to highlight the New Year and that we’d be following up to recognize Black History Month. Over the past two days, we’ve shared quotes about black history month and we’ll continue to recognize it each day this month. Just this afternoon I received an email from a student asking if she could share with me a list of important people in black history, and could I share those one morning next week? I responded with a Yes - of course!

As our communities continue to wrestle with topics of race, bias, and discrimination, we continue to think about how to create opportunities to talk with your children. We have some staff leaders who are working to get a few student affinity groups up and running. We are also working on a parent group who will be able to offer feedback and experiences from their perspectives. We are excited to take next steps in this important work and we’re hopeful that being open and direct about some of these topics, we’ll create a space where students can be as comfortable as they can be, at all times. We all have a lot to work on and we’re excited to learn more.

There is one operational topic that I wanted to write about briefly. Actually, maybe two! The first involves the afternoons at RJ Grey. We are very pleased to be able to offer a lot more after school activities than we could last year. Last year, after school was a breeze because we didn’t have any in-person clubs, activities, athletics, or even in-person extra help! Supervision was easy - but it wasn't ideal for kids! Because we have that variety of items back in place this year, we regularly work with students to understand the expectations for being in the building after 2:36 pm. The basics include: Students who stay after for a club, sport, extra help, etc. can do so! We staff our library until 4:30 every day and we have a staff member present in the building until 5 pm. We expect students to be in the library quietly working while waiting for a ride or the late bus. What we’ve been experiencing recently is students leaving school, heading to Starbucks, CVS, or Sorrento's, and heading back to school to hang out and socialize. While we love that they enjoy being in school, we’re not built to be a hangout location. I ask for your help in reinforcing that message. Being at RJ Grey after school is a privilege and we do have some expectations that all students need to uphold if they need to stay. Thanks for your help with this.

The other operational item is that we’ve noticed the number of tardies to school is growing recently. School starts at 8:00 every day. Seventh graders start with a 3-minute homeroom, and eighth graders have a 6-minute homeroom. Both of those short periods are opportunities for students to get themselves ready, hear the announcements, and breathe for a minute before the first period starts. Each day we have students entering after 8:00. Those kids need to sign-in at the main office (since they missed attendance in homeroom), and I know for many, it sets their day off on the wrong foot. So my request is that if you drive your child to school, and I know traffic near the school campus  can be a challenge, potentially leaving a bit earlier is something that needs to become part of the routine. I know this is a challenge. Just this morning, my own 8 year old realized she forgot her snow gear when I dropped her off at her before-school daycare. Of course, I drove home to get it, making me 20 minutes later to school than I normally am. I was still ready and executed my 7:30 traffic duty on time! But it started me off on the wrong foot. If getting out of the house is a challenge early enough to be here prior to 8:00, please reach out to us and we can help you and your child brainstorm some solutions. 

Here are some upcoming dates to be aware of:

-Monday, Feb 7: Early Release (1pm)

-Monday, Feb 7: RJG School Council, 7pm

-Thursday, Feb 10: NAEP assessment for selected 8th graders

-Tuesday, Feb 15: ABRHS Curriculum Night, 6 pm, on Zoom: (new date and time)

-Wednesday, Feb 16: RJ Grey Chorus Concert, 7 pm

-Friday, Feb 18: Blue and Gold Day!

-Friday, Feb 18: RJ Grey Early Release, 11:10 am (new)

That’s it for now. I hope we all fare well with tomorrow’s ice and snow. Take care,

Jim Marcotte

Posted by jmarcotte On 03 February, 2022 at 4:39 PM  

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2024 SchoolMessenger Corporation. All rights reserved.